Jones Family History & Genealogy

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Jones Surname History

The Jones family name or surname originated from Celtic heritage, specifically in Wales and then later in England, United Kingdom. Jones is derived from the name "Jon", a medieval variant of John. While Jones was initially a pure Welsh name, various Jones genealogy sources prove that the proximity to England led to a natural immigration of the Jones family name throughout Europe.


Antiquarian John Weston writes, “The forename Johannes was borrowed in the Roman period and became Ieuan in Welsh. This is pronounced something like Y-eye-an. When permanent surnames were adopted in Wales, Ieuan sometimes became Jones and sometimes Evans. A document of 1533 names Thomas ap Ieuan ap David ap Blethyn alias Thomas Jones. In the medieval period, John was borrowed and in time this became used as a surname, sometimes unchanged, sometimes in the style Jones. The forename John is known to have been used in Wales in the thirteenth century."

The Jones family name is a popular Celtic (specifically Welsh) name that originated in the United Kingdom where Jones remains one of the most common surnames. The name Jones was first documented in 1279 in Huntingdonshire England.


In addition to the United Kingdom, Jones is a significantly popular last name in the United States of America.

Jones Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity

Evolution of the Jones name In 1292, 48 percent of Welsh names were patronymics (a name inherited from a father), and in some parishes over 70 percent. Other names were derived from nicknames, (rarely) occupational names, and a few non-hereditary personal names. Patronymic names changed from generation to generation, with a person's baptismal name being linked by ap, ab (son of) or ferch (daughter of) to the father's baptismal name to perhaps the seventh generation. For example, Evan son of Thomas would be known as Evan (ap) Thomas; Evan's son, John would be John (ab) Evan; John's son Rees would be Rees (ap) John; and David's son, James, would be James (ap) David. Over time, these names would change as "ap [surname]" would become combined. For example, "ap John" (son of John) would become the surname "Upjohn" (ap+John). The most common surnames in modern Wales result from adding an s at the end of the name, as in Jones, Roberts and Edwards. So "ap John" becomes "Johns" or "Jones". In 1536, the Acts of Union legislation began enforcing common registration of legal documents such as marriage, baptism, and burial. In conjunction with the introduction of English law, these legal records encouraged the adoption of anglicized surnames rather than the patronymic Welsh system. As most Welsh surnames, however, are derived from patronymics, and often based on a small set of first names, Welsh communities are full of families bearing the same surnames, but who are completely unrelated;   Jones Emigration to North America During the 1800's and 1900's a large number of Welsh families immigrated to North America in the search of opportunities. According to ship manifests and personal genealogy research, a high volume of individuals shared the Jones last name. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Jones ranked the 5th most popular surname in the United States with 1362755 people with the last name of Jones. A near variant of Jones, Johnson, ranked as the 2nd most popular surname with 1857160 sharing this last name. The Jones family is currently the second most common name in England, United Kingdom. The name Jones has spread around the world, but since it still an anglo-saxon names it has travelled where those ethnicities have migrated. The name Jones and it's variants can still be found predominantly in Western Europe and the Americas. The name Jones is Welsh in origin, and a large percentage of the Welsh population holds this last name. It can no longer be said, however, that most Joneses are Welsh.

Jones Meaning & Etymology

Jones is a patronymic name meaning "son of John (God has favored or gift of God)", and originates from a Judeo-Christian or biblical name.  "Dunn" means "son of".

Jones Pronunciation & Spelling Variations

There are not many Welsh surnames, but there are an unusually large number of spelling variations. One of the causes of this began in the Middle Ages. The church kept record of names based on their sound, since there was often no prior written record, and much of the population couldn't write their own name anyway. As a result of this, even a particular individual's name may have been recorded in many different ways - making records from this time confusing at best. A great number of the variations come from the transliteration from Welsh into English. There are many sounds in Welsh that are difficult to accurately or consistently reproduce in English, and the pronunciations and even words vary widely between different regional dialects. The two languages also contain different letters. The Welsh language has 28 letters, but lacks some in English, such as "J". Therefore the same name from the same family can vary based on it's transliteration. Finally, different branches or members of a particular family might alter their surnames for various personal reasons. This would be done to denote different affiliations or loyalties: to certain branches, religions, and so forth. In this regard, variations may be significant. These reasons can be used to explain variations of Jones such as Sion, Ieuan, Evans, etc. Spelling variations of the surname Jones include: Jones Johns Johnson Johannsen Johannes Jobes Joanis Jonas Janes Jons James Jonas Jung Jenks Joness Welsh spelling variations of Jones include: Ieuan Evans Sion Shone Upjohn

Last names similar to Jones

Jones 1 Jones 1st Jones 2 Jones 2" Jones 2d Jones 2nd Jones 3 Jones 3rd Jonesa Jonesaaron Jonesadam Jonesadams Jonesaeugene Jonesageorge Jonesagwilym Jonesaiello Jonesajohnnie Jonesal Jonesalan Jonesalbert

Jones Family Tree

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Famous People named Jones

  • John Paul Jones (1747 - 1792): American Revolution military captain.
  • Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1837 - 1930): Political advocate for miners.
  • Mary Cover Jones (1896 - 1987): American psychologist
  • James Earl Jones (1931): Actor
  • George Jones (1931): Country music artist.
  • Elvin Jones (1997 - 2004): American jazz drummer
  • John Paul Jones (1946 - current): British musician, founding member of Led Zeppelin

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